Watch BBC iPlayer on TV
- The best ways to watch BBC iPlayer on your TV
- PVRs and set top boxes with built-in iPlayer
- How to watch iPlayer via Wii, PS3 and laptops
The BBC iPlayer is available on a wide range of platforms and devices that allow you to watch via your TV . Below we detail which devices allow you to access the iPlayer through your TV, including Smart TVs, PVRs and game consoles.
The iPlayer interface on most of these devices is different to the one you'll see in a web browser and in some cases the content available will differ. iPlayer menus are optimised to view on a larger TV screen, and for easier navigation using a remote control rather than a mouse and keyboard. The iPlayer TV service lets you watch catch-up iPlayer programmes, but not live TV streams or radio programmes, as you can with the computer-based version.
You can find out more about watching the iPlayer on your computer, tablet or smartphone in our complete guide to using the BBC iPlayer.
Freesat HD TVs
The simplest way to watch BBC iPlayer on your TV is if your TV already includes a tuner for a service that includes iPlayer. At present, that means an internet-enabled Freesat HD TV - it’s only the high-definition Freesat TVs that are capable of connecting to iPlayer. Freesat TVs
If you’ve got a Freesat HD TV, you’ll need to have connected your TV to your broadband service, either via an ethernet cable, or over wi-fi if your TV offers this feature. You’ll need broadband - officially at least 1Mbps - and the faster the better to avoid glitches and stuttery playback. 2Mbps is the minimum broadband speed to watch high quality iPlayer video streams.
Select a BBC channel (not CBBC or Cbeebies), press the Red Button on your remote control, and choose BBC iPlayer from the menu. iPlayer may then take a few seconds to load. iPlayer is also accessible on channel 901.
Use our expert TV reviews to find a Freesat HD TV with built-in BBC iPlayer
Freesat HD set-top boxes
Freesat HD (not standard definition) set-top boxes can receive BBC iPlayer. To access BBC iPlayer select BBC1, press the Red Button on your remote control, and choose BBC iPlayer from the 'On Demand' or 'Interactive' menu. iPlayer is also accessible on channel 901.
If you’re using a Virgin TiVo PVR, the BBC iPlayer is found in the ‘Apps and Games’ directory. On a Virgin Media set-top box, choose 'BBC iPlayer' on the 'Catch-up TV' menu. Virgin Media TV subscribers can watch iPlayer HD content with a Virgin Media V+ HD box and an HD-ready TV.
BT Vision is currently rolling out BBC iPlayer to its customers on Channel 990, with all active BT Vision set-top boxes expected to be capable of receiving iPlayer by June 2011.
iPlayer on other TV platforms
If you’ve got a 3view Freeview HD PVR, Fetch TV Smartbox or , these also give access to iPlayer.
Blu-ray disc players
Some models of Blu-ray disc players and home-cinema systems include iPlayer functionality. iPlayer-compatible Blu-ray players are primarily Sony and Philips models. They will first need to be connected to your home broadband network. BBC iPlayer will appear as a menu item.
Our home networking guide can help you connect a Blu-ray player to your home broadband
Tablets and smartphones
Many tablets and smartphones are also capable of accessing BBC iPlayer, and some of these can output the on-screen picture to a compatible TV. Some of the latest smartphones incorporate mini-HDMI sockets which can be connected to the HDMI input of a TV. Alternatively, if both your TV and mobile device are DLNA-compatible you may be able to wirelessly stream iPlayer to your TV. If your TV has DLNA, however, it’s also likely you can access iPlayer directly via an internet connection..
Desktops, laptops and netbooks
iPlayer is accessible through a web browser on PC, Mac and Linux computers, so a simple way to watch iPlayer on your TV is to connect your computer to your TV. Connect the video output from your internet-connected PC to the TV using either a VGA or HDMI cable. You’ll need to connect the sound and video signals separately if using a VGA connection, but HDMI cables should, if connected correctly, be able to carry both. To watch iPlayer on the TV, use the iPlayer website or desktop application as normal on the PC, and set your display settings so that the TV is used as the primary display for the iPlayer's video window.
First connect your Wii to your broadband service via wi-fi. Use the Wiimote to select the Wii Shop Channel on the Wii’s main menu screen. Search for the free BBC iPlayer app and download it. You’ll need to have enough free memory blocks on your Wii - if necessary move some games or channels onto an SD memory card.
If you can’t find the iPlayer in the Shop Channel, you may need to update your Wii’s firmware (go to Wii Options - Wii Settings - Wii System Update). Once installed, you can run BBC iPlayer channel from the Wii Channels menu.
Connect your PS3 to your broadband service and to your TV using an HDMI cable. Check that your PS3 console is running at least version 3.0 firmware (go to Settings - System Settings - System Information). Choose the TV menu option, and select BBC iPlayer.
There’s currently no way for Xbox owners to watch BBC iPlayer via their consoles.